The County Joins the State with Tax Increases
By April 1, Rockland is going to enact two new taxes on its citizens. There will be a 30 cent tax on owning a cell phone and a 3% hotel occupancy tax. They were proposed by County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef. This Rockland tax by the Rockland County Legislatures will be an addition to the already increased New York State taxes. The new taxes will be enacted due to the Legislature’s claim that the County desperately needs the extra funds. Many hotel and Inn businesses are against the new taxes because it will put them behind the competition.
The votes for these newly implemented taxes were by no means close. The votes were 10 to 5 for the 3% tax on hotels and 11 to 4 to implement the 30 cent tax on cell phones. County Legislature John Murphy for Pearl River, said he could not vote for the tax because, “it could harm his constituents. Increased state taxes has already put most of the gas stations in the community out of business and sent consumers to New Jersey, where cheaper taxes have added up to cheaper gas.”
Contrarily, legislatrures like Phil Soskin for Monsey voted for the taxes claiming, “we need the money!”
The cell phone tax would produce $600,000 and the hotel tax would produce $1 million in a year. The tax on cell phones was suggested in order to replace the 30 cent tax on land lines. Since land lines are being traded in for cell phones the county is not making much money off the tax.
The County is apparently spending much more than they can afford. In fact we are facing an $80 million budget deficit in light of less aid from the state, from the federal government, and lower mortgage and tax revenues. This is a huge issue for Rocklanders, but should taxing local businesses, who have enough of an economic backlash to handle, be the primary, go to plan? What is all this money going towards? There has been alot of construction all over the County that could make up for some of the spending. Verily, there are many different arenas the County legislature is allocating money for, but as a citizen of Rockland County, I’d like to be aware of them. Perhaps more of the County would be on board if newpapers and the local television station were informed, and furthermore, those mediums conveyed the information to the public.
True, Rockland is by no means booming, but it seems as if we are successful enough to support ourselves. There have been the additions of some new shops, which go along with the Rockland motif of poplarity, such as ice cream, nail, and small eatery shops that have taken off.
Though keeping an entire County running, and running efficiently, is a very tricky concept, it shouldn’t consist of a bunch of laws shoved in the faces of its citizens by the group of self proclaimed “superiors,” who say they know what is better for hundreds of other people. They don’t. The citizens put these people, believe it or not, their peers, their equals, into this position and then entrust them with their lives. People who think themselves superior will tax the little guy without thinking twice about it. The County deficit is everyones’ problem. If people took the time to become informed, demanded their mediums inform them about these matters along with the local news fluff, they could be involved in the process.